Postgraduate Use of English at Dhurakij Pundit University/Findings/Discussion

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DISCUSSIONS[edit | edit source]

The discussions of the research findings are ordered by the research questions.

Discussion 1: How did the student participants perceive their own English ability?[edit | edit source]

The student participants perceived that their English ability was at the average level.

The MBA and DBA students did not differ in their perception of their English proficiency.

The mean of the MBA students (N=113) was 2.86 (SD=.78). This means that they perceived themselves as having an avarage level of English proficiency. The MBA students'perception was similar to that of the DBA's one: the mean of the DBA students was N=10) at 2.40 (SD=.96).

Discussion 2: Respodents' Conception of Thai Academics[edit | edit source]

Most of the respondents surveyed did not perceive themselves as academics. However, most identified themselves as part of the academic community.

Their main reason (for 'No' to being an academic) was that they lacked the knowledge, abilities and skills required. Some of their reasons were as follows:

           No, I do not think that I’m an academic. In my opinion, an academic is a person who
           works in academic-related areas. We are only students, and our aim is to use  
           knowledge from this education to develop our organizations.

                      No, I’m still a student.

                      No, I haven’t got the knowledge and ability required.
                      No, I’m still a student. Haven’t graduated yet, and my knowledge is not adequate to 
           qualify me as one of the academics.

In short, the students who said they were not academics had reasoned that they were still students and were not equipped with knowledge and skills required.

The reasons for 'Yes; (that they considered themselves 'academics'):

          Yes, but still lacking one qualification --- the (English) language ability.

This may reflect the importance of English proficiency as one of the criteria for being an academic in the Thai academic community.

Discussion 3: How often do they use English? What are the students’ levels of use with other members of the Thai academic community?[edit | edit source]

The level of English use across the four skills was ‘low’.

This finding was similar to previous reports of Thai graduates’ use of English.

Most of the students lacked overseas training. It was found that their level of such training was low. Of the total respondents of 130, only 24 (19%) said they have experienced training in countries outside of Thailand. The majority of them (106 or 81%) said they did not have such experience. The number of the participants who have experienced English language training overseas was also low. Of the total number of respondents, only 5 of them (4%) said they have done so. The majority of them said they never had such the experience (125 or 96%).

The study found the relationships between the three aspects of English use: for education, within the community, and at the workplace.

  • English Use in Three Domains
Domains Mean SD N
Workplace 2.37 1.03 127
Education 3.29 1.03 130
Academic Community 2.47 1.05 130

Note: Even though the use of English for education was rated as the...

Correlation between the Use of English at Workplace, the use English for Education, and the Use of English within the Community

# Workplace Education Community
Workplace 1.00 .18* .45**
Education - 1.00 .44**
Community - - 1.00
  • Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed)
    • Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed)

The table above shows that the three domains of English use (Work, University, and Community) were significantly related.

Discussion 4: What were their challenges or difficulties of English use?[edit | edit source]

Overall, they said that they moderately had problems communicating in English, across the four skills. 3.29.

The finding is similar to a study by Porn Prommaharach (BE 2545)who investigated thesis writing problems of the graduate students of the Faculty of Science, Chaingmai University. Among the top problems reported concerned their English ability. It was reported that the students had difficulties using English to help them complete their research projects.

In seems obvious that the language problem affected their ability to complete their education. The use of English in reading texts and others relevant to thesis writing was found to be one of the main problems preventing students to graduate.

# Perceived Support Perceived English Ability Perceived Coping Ability
Perceived Support 1.00 -.28** -.39**
Perceived English Ability - 1.00 .33**
Coping Ability - - 1.00

The table above shows that the three variables were significantly correlated. Perceived Support was negatively related to their perceived English ability (-.28) and their perceived coping ability (-.39). The significant positive relationship was found between the participants' perceived English ability and their coping ability (.33). The correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).

The results of the two roundtables confirms the findings of previous studies. The participants recognized that their language background was inadequate to cope with the demand of reading, especially thick textbooks. They called for more attention to English, asking for more English courses.

The finding was confirmed by the data from the roundtables. One MBA student said: " For the foundation English program, one course for the whole program is inadequate."

Discussion 5: How well or effective could they cope with the problems?[edit | edit source]

Discussion 6: Were there any relationships between the students’ personal factors and their use of English, perceived English ability, and reported problems in language use?[edit | edit source]

     Factors Determining Respondents’ Use of English
  • Sexes and Support

We did not find that gender difference (being male or female)had played a significant role in the level of English use. We, however, discovered that sex difference affected the respondents' needs of support from the establishment. Compared to the male students, females had the higher level of need of the support from the institution.

  • Overseas Training Experience and Self-Esteem

Overseas training Experience N Mean SD
YES 23 3.17 .77

NO 99 2.74 .79

We found that overseas training experience and perceived English ability were significantly correlated. The mean of those respondents who had oversea training experience (N=23) stood at 3.17 (SD=.77); those who did not have such the experience outnumberred the former's (N=99) with the mean of perceived English ability at 2.74 (SD = .79). The difference was significant at the 0.05 level. This may suggest that overseas training experience played a significant role in the students' self-esteem.

  • Identity and English Use

This study found that their identity was a salient variable.

This is significant at the .05 level.

The students’ identity was found to have significant ability to differentiate their reported use of English in two areas: English use within the community and English in Education. However, the reported English use at work was not found to be significantly different.

However, their perception of themselves as academics did not have any effect on their reported use of English across the three categories.

The variable: acadermic or not = their ability to cope

Thai Academic? N Mean S.D. Sig. Coping Ability YES 36 3.47 .51 (EV/A) .021 (EV/NA) .013 NO 76 3.18 .64

Seeing oneself as an academic is something good. They would be able to solve problems.

Most of them, however, felt they could cope well with the problems.

With regards to the support they needed from the university, most of them said they

The role of perceived identity reported in this study may provide another example of the relationship between academic achievement and academic self-concept. The frequently used construct that has been linked to SC is academic achievement. Lyon (1993) highlighted the importance of the relationship between SC and academic achievement, and stated that "academic self concept is theoretically more closely related to academic achievement than most other cognitive variables" (p. 203). The relationship between their overall perceived English ability, the perceived support from the institution, and their coping ability.

The three variables were found to be significantly correlated at the Perceived Support Perceived English ability Coping Ability Perceived Support 1.00 -.281 -.391 Perceived English ability -.281 1.00 .330 Coping Ability -.391 .330 1.00 Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed) The relationships between three variables: the perceived English ability, the coping ability, and the needed support.

What’s interesting? The correlation between SUMCOP and SUMSUPT was negative (-.39). This means that the need of support is negatively correlated with the perceived English ability. If a person needs support, he or she tends to have less English ability and vise versa. The respondents who needed support were those whose perceived English ability was low.

However, the correlation between the ability to cope with the demands of English and the overall perceived English ability is positive (.33). This means that if the ability is high, the ability to cope with English is also high.

What’s more is the relationship between perceived English ability and support needed from DPU; the correlation is negative and is significant at the .05 level (-. 28). This means that the students need less support if they have better English ability.

Discussion 7: What did they think about institutional support? Was it adequate?[edit | edit source]

This survey found that the respondents perceived the high level of support from the institute (M= 3.87, SD = .70).

The negative correlation between the perceived support and their perceived English ability (-.28) suggests that those who need support the most are those whose English is poor.

The coping ability, the ability to deal with the challenges and difficulties of English, was found to be negatively correlated with their perceived support (-.39). This means that those who caanot cope with the demand of English use seem to need more support from the establishment.

CHAPTER SUMMARY[edit | edit source]